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Knowledge category: Funding and financing

HORIZON-CL6-2023-CircBio-01-7: Symbiosis in the bio-based industrial ecosystems

Updated on 03.03.2023

This topic aims to enable bio-based industries in the EU to contribute to the enhancement of European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence, developing industrial symbiosis and circularity by design. It also focuses on the development of innovative and sustainable value chains in bio-based industries as a prerequisite and driver of future solutions for a circular economy and the bioeconomy transition.

Financial entity: European Commission
Contact: via contact form  

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

In the transition towards effective circularity and zero pollution within the industrial ecosystems in the EU, the production of goods and services must optimise the use of any resource. Industrial symbiosis is instrumental to this goal, as it is based on the sharing of resources between facilities when wastes or by-products from an industry or industrial process become the raw material for another. In this way, industrial symbiosis can facilitate the development and implementation of circular systemic solutions on local and regional scales.

To improve knowledge for the implementation and scaling up of industrial symbiosis in bio-based industries, proposals should:

  • analyse the applicability of existing methods and approaches individuating and assessing technical solutions enabling the symbiosis to specific sectors/facilities within the bio-based industrial ecosystems (but also their symbiosis with non-bio-based industrial assets), including supported by digital innovation and artificial intelligence, based on existing studies and on the knowledge collected and drawn up under the European Community of Practice (ECoP);
  • improve existing and/or develop new methods to assess the circularity and symbiosis of bio-based industrial ecosystems, taking into consideration specific key performance indicators developed in the above-mentioned ECoP;
  • assess and optimise the environmental sustainability of symbiotic processes in terms of (decreased) impacts on soil, water, and air quality, biodiversity and climate;
  • evaluate the economic and social benefits of the industrial symbiosis assets in terms of increased economic value of final industrial products, better distribution of economic and social benefits among the stakeholders, improved utilisation of local supply chains, and integration in local (national and regional) strategies supporting circular approaches;
  • individuate high-potential regions/areas, or specific industrial hubs for the demonstration of the developed symbiotic approach; criteria for the individuation of such sites should focus on the process level, symbiosis process implementation, commitment level of the local authorities and communities, regional specificities (business/industrial policy and strategies), additional funding, potential private investors and so on, while also taking stock from the EU Hubs for Circularity experiences;
  • engage with stakeholders, including local authorities and communities to disseminate the social and economic benefits from innovation in industrial symbiosis, bio-based industries, universities or other educational institutions to facilitate the training of circular practitioners.

For the full list, please refer to the text of the call.

In terms of results, projects will contribute to delivering bio-based solutions with reduced environmental impacts on soil, water, and air quality, biodiversity and climate, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the circular economy action plan, the bioeconomy strategy and the implementation of the transition pathway for the EU chemicals industry.

Specifically, projects are expected to contribute to both of the following outcomes:

  • innovative processes and industrial symbiosis approaches in the bio-based industrial value chains, enabling local security of supply chains and the maximum valorisation of biological resources while minimising the use of hazardous substances and waste streams;
  • monitoring systems of the industrial symbiosis in the bio-based industrial value chains.

Applicant criteria

This call is open to any legal entity based in EU Member States and Associated Countries; often, cooperation between at least three parties from three different countries is required (at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries).

For more information, please see the work programme, call text and call documents.

Eligible projects/themes

Industrial bio-based facilities within the scope of this topic include those producing bio-based materials and products (e.g. paints, coatings, inks and dyes, polymers, construction materials, fibres, personal care products, plasticisers, adhesive, lubricants, platform chemicals, solvents, surfactants, etc.).

Successful proposals are expected to contribute to the Horizon Europe Destination ‘Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors (2023/24)’. This destination and its topics target climate-neutrality, zero pollution, and fair and just circular and bioeconomy transitions.

Amount of funding

The total indicative budget for the topic is €3 million. The indicative number of grants is two.

Application process

  1. The European Commission publishes the call for proposals on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
  2. The call is open for a typical period of around five months, during which applicants can submit their proposal.
  3. Horizon Europe calls can be single or two-stage application processes. In this case, the call is a single-stage process. This requires a structured proposal of max. 45 pages to be filled in, including objectives and innovation approach (excellence), tangible impacts that can be achieved through the project (impact) and the project planning and tasks (quality). These documents are to be uploaded to the portal in pdf format alongside administrative information on the beneficiaries, affiliated entities or others, to be filled in on the portal. All participants need to possess a Participant Identification Code (PIC number, a 9-digit number registered on ECAS). For more information, please see the work programme and the call documents.
  4. Proposals submitted within the deadline will be evaluated by experts against evaluation criteria.
  5. Winning proposals will be invited to sign a grant agreement with the Commission.


Planned opening date: 22 December 2022

Deadline date: 28 March 2023, 17.00 Brussels time

Financing type

Grants & subsidies

Territories involved

Rural areas

<5 000


large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

Metropolitan areas

large metropolitan area >1.5 million, metropolitan area 1.5 million-500 000



predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region

Intra-territorial areas

Industrial zones

Agricultural zones


e.g. commercial, residential, service, industrial

Type of action

Coordination and support action (CSA)